NBC Asian America asked celebrities and industry leaders to nominate individuals for our inaugural list, and Hieu Minh Nguyen was nominated by 2017 A to Z honoree Fatimah Asghar, writer and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series "Brown Girls": "Hieu Minh Nguyen is one of my generations greatest writers and thinkers. I'm always struck by Hieu's balance of tenderness in his poems, the way that he holds a thin knife to both humor and trauma, turning one so easily into another. Hieu's work gives me strength, the courage to be brave, the courage to call myself out for my own mistakes, permission to let myself think in ways I didn't know possible. This year births the release of Hieu's second book 'Not Here,' which I don't think the world is prepared for."
I am inspired by the way we can bridge the distances between us through stories. Celebrating our differences doesn't divide us, but allows us to recognize each other as individuals. It also creates more meaning in the things that make us the same.
NBC Asian America Presents: A to Z aims to celebrate the emerging voices and breakout stars of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. These individuals aren’t just reading the dictionary of what it means to be Asian American and Pacific Islander in America; they’re writing new definitions every day.